In a highly developed global financial center such as Hong Kong, it is no surprise that life doesn’t come cheap. You can most definitely find education costs in the list of usual suspects that are likely to drain your finances, amongst other necessities such as rent and clothing.
Now if are a citizen of Hong Kong, the first 9 years of basic education is fully funded by the government, and the following senior-secondary education heavily subsidized. The main financial concern is what comes after that, or more specifically the university-level education.
Most people, in this highly competitive society, would consider the furthering of education quite necessary. Unfortunately, not everyone have the financial means to independently shoulder the costs associated with this undertaking.
That is how a student loan presents as an attractive solution.
Before you proceed to source for loan providers, first understand the field and objectives of your proposed further education as well as the selection of institutions that provides these courses.
The grand scheme of taking up any kind of loan essentially means you will have to pay them back later. You do not want to take up this financial burden is to realize later that you have little interest in the prospects of this education, or find little opportunity for employment after graduation.
If you are hoping to obtain financial aid from the Student Financial Assistance Agency (SFAA), ensure you select a course and school that is listed as eligible. Conduct an honest assessment of your financial plans post-graduation and ensure that you are fully capable of repaying the loan later.
Include all the expenses that you are likely to incur in the duration of your studies to determine whether the loan amount needs to be adjusted. Getting part-time employment while you are studying can significantly reduce your financial pressure later on.
Types of Loans
The bright side of education in Hong Kong is that the government has in place a relatively robust financial aid program. The most logical first step when sourcing for a study loan is to explore whether you qualify for any government schemes. The SFAA offers interest rates averaging 2% lesser than the market’s lowest lending rate, that will shape out pretty well for you.
Other types include private loans from banks, and sometimes direct loans from schools in exclusive tie-ups with financial institutions. In any case, any lender who tries to steer you away from government supported loans should be met with caution.
For those who are eligible to apply for government loans, make an effort to clarify any limitations on the amount, the repayment period and to what extend do subsidized loans cover. Once you are satisfied with your understanding, submit your application before the stipulated dateline.
Exercise due diligence, especially if for some reasons, you decided a private study loan is the way to go. Shop around extensively, and don’t be caught by fancy advertising gimmicks promising seemingly attractive benefits that you will likely not see. For example, some lenders may offer discounts if you make on-time payments for a consecutive period. It is highly possible you will forget about them after your studies, or fail to meet the requirements necessary to implement the discount.
A better perspective to acquire benefits is to look for those you can see the effects right away, like a waiver of application fees. That is money already in your pockets to spend on something else.
As the interest rates to private loans may change from time to time, it is imperative for you to obtain the complete picture of how your repayment is going to be like. Remember that you will not enjoy any concessions on any temporary deferments that a government loan may sometimes provide.
There is much you should do before taking up a student loan. The effort you invest now could potentially save you a lot of financial pressure after graduation. Likewise, a step in the wrong direction will pretty much have your hands tied.